For most of the year, Sunshine Retirement’s Creekside Oaks community in Folsom, California is as peaceful and bucolic as the name suggests. But for several days in October, it becomes more like “Creepyside Oaks,”
“I think our residents are a lot like other Sunshine residents,” said Creekside Oaks’ new Life Enrichment Director (LED) Jamie Hook. “When fall arrives, they get excited about the holidays and none more so than Halloween. We go all out just like Christmas.”
With black cats, skeletons and witches galore adding a spooky atmosphere to the common areas, Creekside Oaks residents got in the spirit of the fall festivities by paying a visit to Zittel Farms out in the countryside. Under glorious sunny skies, they checked out the corn maze, dropped by the petting zoo, and picked out pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. The following day, the pumpkins became the subject of a craft project, getting decorated with glitter glue and colored sharpie pens.
Jamie also arranged an outing to Snook’s Chocolate Factory, a Folsom institution since 1963. In addition to candy corn, residents got to fill their goodie bags with treats like peanut brittle, honeycomb candy, truffles, and fudge rocky road toffee.
Starting last Sunday, Jamie also began getting everyone in the mood for All Hallow’s Eve with daily thriller movies, including “Carrie,” “The Haunting in Connecticut,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Hocus Pocus.” To make sure things didn’t get too scary, she also arranged a Halloween party on October 30 for the residents’ grandchildren, children of staff members, and kids from the community. One of the highlights of the party was the Dog Costume Contest, which pitted several four-legged friends against each other in haunting regalia. And the kids got to go trick-or-treating down the hallways.
“I included a pet costume contest because we have had such a great turn out on Wednesdays for pet therapy with the Pow Wow Dog Group,” said Jamie. “I asked the owners if they were up for it, and they were excited because they had planned to dress their dogs up anyway.”
All of these festivities led up to Creekside Oaks own Halloween Party in the Activity Room and the Atrium on the afternoon of October 31, featuring a costume contest for residents.
“I have two costumes and I’m not going to tell you what they are,” said resident Josephine Caleca. “It’s a surprise!”
Surprises. Crafts. Candy. Crazy costumed pets. What’s not to like about October at Creepyside, er, Creekside Oaks? Just wait till you see what they have in store for November!
First published on Sunshine Retirement Living, October 2019.